Ever found yourself whiling away hours scrolling through Instagram when you could have been doing something (anything) more productive? I’m not denying anyone a good fall down a #NoFilter rabbit hole but your brain might thank you for a more creative pastime. These less than pedestrian hobbies might be just the tonic to reset your busy mind (and clip that phone screen time).
I've always had a bad back. I tan well, smile a lot and have a spine that pathologically hates me. Or does it? Postural Alignment Therapy (or "PAT") isn't physio, or yoga, or osteopathy — it's a system of personalised exercises that works by addressing the causes of pain, rather than focussing on the symptom itself. It's about gently firing up weak, underused muscles and helping to switch off muscles that are taking too much strain.
What do you mean, you thought The Oyster Club was an oyster restaurant? Pfft. The original Oyster Club was a hangout for scientists, philosophers and other big thinkers of Edinburgh in the 1770s. The Birmingham namesake was established to create a haven for this city’s most brilliant minds, and also just for people that are well into their seafood. Or their caviar. Or lobster. Or Wagyu. Either way, complete with it's Michelin-starred creds, The Oyster Club's got the good stuff.
Make a note in your Google calendar. Set an alarm. This Friday, the restos and retailers of Bullring & Grand Central are offering discounts, freebies and special event sort of things. And let's be real for a mome, who doesn't want all of that? Your bank manager would be proud. I'm proud too. Here's my pick of what's happening at A Shopping Affair, from 5pm 'til 8pm (when parking will also be half price).
Call it what you like. Oatmeal? Biscuit? You can call it taupe if you're feeling fancy. I'm calling it beige and rejecting any snoozefest associations. We won't be able to avoid it this summer and that's good news for us all; beige works hard for day and night time lewks. Just don't call it bland.
Friday’s a huge day in the feminist calendar. Maybe the biggest of them all. We've all got it circled in red pen, right? It’s International Women’s Day, and rather than clear a space in your diary to correct trolls on Twitter by telling them that International Men’s Day does exist (it’s on November 19) get down to these awesome happenings supporting local ladies. And prepare to feel pumped about the ace-ness of women in this city.
The pancake is such a pure and simple pleasure. How can flour, milk and eggs illicit such joy? I haven’t looked into it, but I’m presuming the answer is some kind of sorcery. Guarantee yourself a good ol' Shrove with these folks.
MetroSpa, my fave sparkly new spa in Edgbaston, is offering Letterbox Birmingham readers the chance to buy one spa treatment* and get the second one half price. The offer applies to the spa treatments, so that includes facials, manis, pedis or massages. And whichever treatment you choose, the second one’ll be half price. Sounds good to us.
Ever so occasionally I’m accused of being city centre centric. Hey, the clue's in the name. Boutiques in Birmingham regularly get shout outs ‘cuz I’m basically a self-appointed B'ham indie cheerleader. But I’ve got nothing against the ‘burbs and there are gems to be found outside of B1 to B5, either a short drive away or a bit further afield. But all less than an hour from Grand Central. Pom-poms optional.
Our sweet sweet home is the City of a Thousand Trades. One of those trades has got an entire blooming quarter named after it. So rather than just strolling past the windows and admiring the shiny sparkly things, why not get involved, learn some jewellery-making skills and inevitably become the next Cartier*? *I accept no responsibility for you not becoming the next Cartier.
You’re either Team Read The Book First (and then watch the film or play after), or firmly from the movie-watching-then-giving-the-book-a-go school of thought. Whichever one you fall into, The Rep is delivering the adaptations this season. Now you just need to decide if you’ve got to finish the text before you go.
If someone blindfolded you, put you on a train at New Street, and removed the blindfold only after pushing you through the doors of Sky By The Water, you probably wouldn’t think you were at Resorts World, or even in Birmingham. You’d probably also be like “Why did you blindfold me? That was kind of traumatic” but then “Wow this place is beautiful, can I live here now?”
Sartorial savants are turning their hands to hospitality like it's going out of, well, fashion. And this bunch are all almost rudely reachable from Birmingham.
Absolutely bossing Veganuary and considering keeping it up for... Febganuary? Luckily for you, me and our tastebuds, these folks are catering for the considerable plant-based demand with some new and all nice lil dishes. Now back to that name. Vegbruary? Feganruary?
I got eight hours of uninterrupted sleep on Friday night — those deep, refreshing sort of zzzs I'd give up most of what I own to guarantee on a regular basis. And the cause?
It’s sale season and it feels like every retailer everywhere is aggressively flogging their wares at you, whilst you’re at your Dry-Jan-vulnerablest. To save trawling through them all, only to realise there’s just a measly quid off the original price, here are some big savings from some of my fave High Street brands. All for less than the cost of a month's gym membership.
Every two years I make the same mistake. I chop off all my hair thinking I can pull off a chic, tousled cool-girl lob. Then I walk out of the salon, holding back tears of remorse and spend the next 24 months willing it to grow until it's waist length, by which point I'm bored and cut it off again. But this is a different kind of image change.
Hey, we know we’re not the first people to write a gift guide in December. So sue us (please don’t).
Italian food. Fine fine dining. Ridiculously strong décor by Tibbatts Abel; the same people that did Saint Paul's House and Opheem, Aktar Islam's other joint over the road. It’s very hard to find anything not to love about Legna, the newbie to Fleet Street (that's basically Summer Row to the uninitiated).
It's an hour until curtain-up and I'm sitting next to a ballet dancer, a real life ballet dancer. Unbelievably graceful despite still being in jogging bottoms, Céline Gittens, Birmingham Royal Ballet Principal, is transforming herself into the Rose Fairy for the evening's performance of The Nutcracker. And the humble, strong, knowing 30-year-old is simultaneously talking to me about ballet, Birmingham and burgers...
What kind of Christmas decorator are you, are you a traditionalist that only uses red and gold decs, or are you more into, say, hanging sushi and avocado baubles? Whichever team you fall into, can we just all agree that you should probably have a balloon dog on your tree this year?
Decapitated Barbies and pig-shaped macarons with eighties bangers for your soundtrack isn't exactly what you might think of when someone invites you for a spot of afternoon tea. But when this is the invite and chef patron Alex Claridge is the one in charge, you're not in normal town anymore. You're in new kid on the neon block, Nocturnal Animals.
As you walk into Gas Hall, a huge holographic wall stretches out to the left, brandished with the words Women, Power, Protest. We all know BMAG don’t shy away from sensitive subjects (oh hey Coming Out), neither do they do sensationalism. For this show, they've created a space that's accessible for everyone despite the pretty intense subject matter. But joyously, the overtly glittery, pink, "feminine" aesthetics continue throughout.
You might expect a play based on a novel written 119 years ago to be a little, shall we say… old-fashioned. Well, let The Rep’s upcoming showing of Heart of Darkness, originally written by Joseph Conrad, change your mind.
I was 16 when The Lovely Bones was published, just two years older than the main character, Susie Salmon, who has been murdered and is now trapped in some kind of in-between. The heavy subject matter made waves through my school year, and in particular me and my angsty group of pals, but the story doesn’t seem like the easiest thing to translate to stage. We talked to designer Ana Inés Jabares-Pita about the challenges of creating a set showing both the everyday and the afterlife.
Give your Instagram feed an uplift by following some local female talent. These illustrators’ joyful posts will uplift your scrolling time and at the same time you're supporting independent artists. It's a win win.
Allergies and intolerances can be super serious and it's vital to get them properly diagnosed. It's also good to get tested rather than self-diagnosing and being overly reliant on WebMD.